Council 'talks' over pier parking ban

SENIOR council officers have held talks with port bosses following the closure of Gorleston pier car park the Mercury can reveal.The pier's owners EastPort have faced a rising tide of criticism for shutting the car park at the popular wave watching spot.

SENIOR council officers have held talks with port bosses following the closure of Gorleston pier car park the Mercury can reveal.

The pier's owners EastPort have faced a rising tide of criticism for shutting the car park at the popular wave watching spot.

Since the gates were locked in June there has been increasing traffic chaos along the seafront with cars parking in coach bays and on verges.

A petition, signed by 560 people at last month's Cliff Top Festival, calling for the car park to re-open has been presented to Yarmouth MP Tony Wright.


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And more than 200 names are now posted on an online petition on the website of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Borough councillors representing Gorleston surveyed the parking situation on the seafront following the closure of the car park.

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Since then council chiefs taken part in discussions on the issue with port bosses according to St Andrew's ward councillor Bryan Watts.

He said: “Senior officers have been in contact with EastPort management to see if something can be done to resolve the issue.

“I have also made representations to the company asking for a meeting and would like to see the car park re-open. I can assure you were already taking the issue onboard before the petitions were organised.”

Angler Ken Hemp was amongst those signing the petition at the Cliff Top Festival, organised by Gorleston conservation group Gosh.

Retired printer Mr Hemp, from Belton, said “I have been fishing on the pier since I was a boy in the 1950s. I still go about three or four times a week, but lots of people with mobility problems cannot get there now.

“It is so congested that after about 10am the nearest you can park is near the lifeboat station, which is too far away for fishermen to carry their gear.”

EastPort announced in June that the car park had been closed indefinitely because the uneven surface made it unsafe to use. The pier opened in 1964 replacing an old wooden jetty.

Last week the Mercury reported that audiences at the town's Pavilion Theatre were being urged to add their names to the online petition organised by Gorleston man Dennis Durrant.

To support the campaign visit www.gorleston-heritage.co.uk or www.gorlestonpavilion.co.uk.

The Mercury attempted to contact all Gorleston's borough councillors to seek their views on the car park's closure.

Councillors were asked if they had raised the issue with council officers and if they wanted the car park to re-open.

St Andrew's ward councillor Gerry Cook said: “We had a meeting a couple of weeks ago with a senior council officer to discuss the parking issue along Gorleston seafront. I would like to see the pier re-open, but if the council doesn't own the land there is not much we can do.”

Gorleston ward councillor Bert Collins said: “We cannot invest council money into a privately owned company. EastPort has got no money to repair the car park which is dangerous and will cost a lot to put right. There is free parking right along the seafront but it is never adequate. It was suggested we could provide more space near the yacht pond, but it was decided that was too dangerous.”

John Burroughs, who also represents Gorleston ward, said: “Mr Collins is working on this one - to be honest I have not been looking into it. The problem is who is going to pay for the repairs. I need to find much more information about it.”

Magdalen ward councillor Pat Page told the Mercury the pier was not in her ward so did not wish to comment. She added “I would like to see the pier re-open, but it is up to the port authority.”

Magdalen councillors Karen Hewitt and Brian Walker were not available for comment at the time of going to press.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Have the councillors given satisfactory replies to the Mercury's questions? Write to Letters, the Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA or email anne.edwards@archant.co.uk

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